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ITIL :: View topic - Changing Priorities during an Incident
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Changing Priorities during an Incident

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Joined: Apr 02, 2008
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:17 pm    Post subject: Changing Priorities during an Incident Reply with quote

I am currently in discussions with our Service Desk Manager regarding Priority management of an Incident during its' lifecycle.

His states that if the impact of a high level priority incident has been reduced by the introduction of a workaround, but a residual number of users are still affected, then the priority of the incident should be stepped down. His argument is that the priority should reflect the current situation.

He says the Service Management Tool should then be configurable to allow SLA measurement against the incident in the two priority states.

This fundamentally seems wrong to me as I'm sure there is a role for Problem Management here and that the incident should stay as P1 until a workaround for all affected has been identified and implemented.

Any views ?
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Joined: Mar 04, 2008
Posts: 1894
Location: Helensburgh

PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason for applying priorities is to enable you to assign resources to the tasks of greatest value. This is not essentially about how long it takes to resolve or about when you start (or continue) work on a task, but about the ordering of tasks that require a common resource.

Typically, Incidents can require anything from a few minutes to several days to achieve resolution. Where you anticipate the process going on for any significant time it makes sense to re-evaluate its priority especially if you have achieved partial resolution (not a technical term - I just mean the ongoing impact has been reduced or the urgency has been circumvented) so that you put your resources where they are most needed.

Your reference to Problem Management is a bit of a red herring, since it has nothing to do with incident resolution in the general way of things. Sometimes resolving an incident requires the use of investigative tools more commonly associated with Problem Management, but that does not mean you are applying Problem Management to the incident, since that is not a logical thing to do.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
William Penn 1644-1718
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Joined: Oct 26, 2007
Posts: 295
Location: Calgary, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see anything wrong with changing priority if overall effect on the users is lessened with a workaround. Priority tells you how much staff and resources you should throw at resolving an incident, and if a workaround makes the users happy for a while and provides them with ability to continue their work, there is nothing wrong with changing priority so that some resources can be freed to address more urgent matters.

IMHO, this will never be a clear cut case, and that's why an Incident Manager should be at least informed about every P1 incident so that he/she can make an appropriate call at the right time. (Hence, don't assign the role to just any Joe Blow working the Service Desk)
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